How Canadian women are making an impact toward the Global Goals
By Sharon Avery, Chief Development Officer, UNICEF Canada
A recent study showed that Canadian women are more likely to make charitable donations than men. But that's not all they're doing.
This week, a group of Canadian women representing UNICEF Canada's The 25th Team are joining global conversations in Copenhagen with one mission: to save children's lives.
The world's largest global conference on the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women to take place in the last decade, kicked off in Copenhagen on Monday. The Women Deliver 2016 Conference is bringing together world leaders, advocates, policymakers, journalists, youth, business and civil society to discuss how to implement the new Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, as they relate to girls and women.
The 25th Team is a group of 60 influential Canadian women committed to investing $6 million over four years in life-saving UNICEF projects in Cambodia, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Namibia and Peru. Seventeen team members are in Copenhagen this week. The 25th Team's investment, which will directly impact 3.8 million women and children, is building capacity in communities and with governments to save lives. The legacy of this investment will be multiplied as the impact and results of UNICEF's work attracts further investment by governments and donors to take these programs to scale and make them sustainable.
One such investment comes from the Government of Canada, which this week announced a $5-million commitment to saving the lives of women and children in partnership with The 25th Team. The funding will go towards addressing the unique gaps in each of the five countries that require urgent attention to improve health outcomes for mothers and children. Another investment came from Teck, a long-time partner to UNICEF. Teck generously underwrote the costs of The 25th Team while also investing in zinc-related child health activities with UNICEF Canada to reduce preventable child deaths. As a result of Teck's contribution, UNICEF was able to recruit a dynamic group of women representing Canada from coast to coast.
It's heartbreaking that 16,000 children around the world continue to die every day of mostly preventable causes. That's almost a large football stadium full of children every day. As Canadians this is unacceptable to us. We can and must do more.
And we are. The women who have joined UNICEF Canada's The 25th Team are some of the most remarkable women I have ever met. Beyond their financial investment, they are committing their time and energy to understand some of the most pressing issues facing the world's women and children today. They are traveling to the countries where they have funded projects to meet with children and families, to talk with local leaders and UNICEF staff, to see what's being done - and what's not. They are asking the questions that need to be asked. And with their support, UNICEF is continuing to be a global leader for children.
In Cambodia, the women of The 25th Team, along with the Government of Canada and our partners are supporting access to quality health services for women and girls. In Indonesia, they're investing in adolescent nutrition. In Peru, they're empowering young women with information on health and pregnancy. In Namibia, they're addressing bottlenecks to health care, increasing birth registration and building community awareness. In Ethiopia, they're helping eliminate child marriage. And these are just some of the life-saving interventions being planned.
Now in Copenhagen, 17 members of The 25th Team are at the forefront of the discussion on the Global Goals, not just because of their investment, but because of their passion and commitment to building the world we want. The 25th Team is a powerful example of Canadian women stepping onto the global stage to engage on life-saving issues for women and children.
We all know that when the world invests in girls and women, everybody wins. This week, Canadians can be proud, knowing that they are playing a part in helping make the world a better place for all.
Sharon Avery is participating in the Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen this week alongside 17 members of The 25th Team.